As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Twitching – British birdwatching goes bad as spotters ramp up competition

Garry Bagnell is cruising down a country road in Great Yarmouth, England, when his beeper lights up with a bulletin. A shorelark – a distinctive bird with yellow and black markings – took a wrong turn somewhere over Norway and is getting its bearings on a beach an hour's drive north. Time to step on the gas.

"I need that bird, I need it," said Bagnell, a 46-year-old accountant and hardcore practitioner of British twitching, or extreme – and extremely competitive – birdwatching. "When a bird you haven't seen drops, you've got to chase it. That's going to bring me up to 300 [different species] spotted for the year. You don't understand how competitive this is. For some people, this is life and death."

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